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Questions for you KitchenAid grinder/sausage makers

BotchBotch Posts: 2,952
Hi Folk.  I finally jumped in to try making link sausage.  I used Charcuterie's "Fresh Garlic/wine Sausage" master recipe, but also watched this particular video a few times:  EweTube  I used a KitchenAid "Artisan" mixer with KitchenAid's meat grinder attachment, plate with the large holes.

I couldn't find a 5-lb pork butt, so I got a 3-lb plus a 2-lb pkg of boneless short ribs (hmmm, I may have just figured out my problem).  I cut the meat into 1x1" strips, coated with the spices, and popped them into the freezer for about half an hour.  
The machine didn't bog down at all, but I wasn't getting what I considered a "grind", but rather a "pate".  The first grind is in the frig now getting cold again (per the video) but when I disassembled the grinder I saw my problem: there was all kinds of sinew wrapped around the cutter blade, and stuck in the holes; it took me a long time to disassemble, clean, and its the kinda gross mess that could make a fella vegetarian (well, not quite).  
 
My questions:  Did I screw up by adding the short ribs?  Did I screw up by assembling the thing incorrectly?  Or is the KitchenAid grinder attachment just not that good?  The motor never bogged, and I can't tell in the video which model grinder that guy's using, but I definitely wasn't getting the "grind" he was.
 
His technique pushes the ground meat through the grinder a second time, still with the Large-hole plate, but I think I'll skip that on this batch, the texture is probably already too fine (the Charcuterie recipe calls for only one pass, but through the Small-hole plate).  Can't wait to try the "stuffing" later this afternoon!
 
One hint for anyone else trying this: some kind of a bottle brush sure would've been handy for cleaning out the housing; I've got long fingers but still had trouble reaching all the meat goobers.  
 
Thanks!  
_____________________________________________
 
Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
 
Ogden, Utard.  
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Comments

  • TjcoleyTjcoley Posts: 3,422
    I had the same issue first time I used the KA grinder - sinew stuck in the blade made for a really fine grind, or 'pate' as you described it.  I'm more careful with trimming the meat and fat now to avoid this and it works a lot better. 
    __________________________________________
    It's not a science, it's an art. And it's flawed.
    - Camp Hill, PA
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  • BotchBotch Posts: 2,952
    Thanks Tjcoley.  Shoot.  I did cut off the bottom (top?) of the ribs, it seemed a bit tougher than the rest of the fat, but I don't know what else I would've taken off, and still have 20% "fat".  Hmmm.  
    _____________________________________________
     
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
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  • RRPRRP Posts: 14,667
    edited January 2014
    Like Tjcoley said I too am careful when I am trimming and cutting my meat into chunks, but still have the sinew  clogs you mention. I have found the best way to clean the whole grinder portion is using a bottle brush. While more powerful dedicated grinders may not have this problem I look at it on a positive side saying at least all that sinew didn't get cut up in tiny pieces and into my meat!

    image
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
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  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,757

    Hmmm...never had that problem before using the Kitchener #12 that I have and I've ground up plenty of short ribs. Could be your grinder or maybe you had some really tough stuff.

    If you aren't getting a grind, but a pate or schmear, you should have taken it apart and cleared the blockage.

    Can't tell you if you need another pass through or not without seeing pics, but I would assume not.

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

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  • BotchBotch Posts: 2,952
    edited January 2014
    Egads.

    Well, first attempt is finished.  Seven very nice looking links, one with a hernia.  One-third of the meat still in loose form, sausage patties for the next 2 or 3 breakfasts, that's not a bad thing.  As with anything new, there were a comedy of errors and misjudgements, and I'm sure the procedure will go better next time.  As advice to anyone else trying this for the first time (and the amusement of those with experience), I wrote down a few thoughts that would've been helpful, earlier:
     
    1.  TAKE YOUR TIME!  At first it seemed the auger wasn't doing anything, that sausage was coming out only when I pressed harder on the meat at the top of the hopper.  That isn't true, it's just a slow process.  I was afraid to go beyond the second-slowest speed, although it did seem to increase output rate a bit.  
    2.  I thought the difficult portion of this process would be making the links equal diameter/pressure.  It's not, that part seems to regulate itself; my links look pretttty!  All the work is squishing the meat in the hopper down into the tube.  
    3.  TAKE YOUR TIME!
    4.  Heed the warnings and keep everything as cold as possible, especially the meat.  Most of it squishes past your fingers once or twice before heading down the chute.  I'm anxious to see the texture tomorrow.  
    5.  As mentioned above, just use your fingers, not the plunger.  I got my only "blowout" when I tried using the plunger.  I didn't notice it for awhile, and laid a 9" "sausage turd" on my counter before I noticed, stopped, and retied the casing.  This can be avoided by following #6:
    6.  TAKE YOUR TIME!
    7.  If you do have a "blowout", stop the machine.  Have a few lengths of cotton twine standing by to tie off a new sausage string.  You cannot tie the casing itself into a knot when your fingers are covered with pork fat.  You cannot.  The guy in the video above does it, but thats CGI, or Photoshopped, or something.  It can't be done.  It's easy-peasy with string.
    8.  Have a small dish of water standing by, to wet the casing already slid onto the stuffer tube; if it dries out too much it'll stick to the tube and you'll  have to start over.  It'll dry out if (a) you live in a desert environment, or (b) its winter and the furnace is running, or c) you have a blowout and have to stop sliding the casing for a few moments, or d) a+b+c simultaneously, like me.  
    9.  Speaking of casings (I used natural hog gut linings) for some reason I was expecting them to be already "bunched up" in the bag (mine came dry/packed in salt), and I was just supposed to grab an "accordion", soak it in water, stretch it and rinse it, then bunch it back up onto the stuffer tube.  Well, they're not "pre-bunched", they're full-length, tangled up, and covered in salt.  In the future I'll dump the whole bag onto a sheet pan, carefully untangle one and drop it in water, then carefully load the rest back into the bag, along with all the salt.  
    10.  Son of Speaking of casings: if you need reading glasses to read, you need them to slide the end of the casing over your kitchen faucet, to rinse the interior before use.  You also should slice the end squarely with a sharp knife first, makes it much easier.  
    11.  Cross-contamination: just forget about even trying to prevent this.  You will have it.  Everywhere.  You will have raw organic substances on your kitchen walls, floor, stove, ceiling, dining room floor and possibly one wall, your hair, your pants, your dog, and (as I just noticed) your wine glass and remote.  Remember that infections your own body must fight on its own strengthens your immune system.  
    12.  If you order a "sausage pricker" from Amazon Prime, it might not arrive on time even if your sausage casings did.  Two "Corn-on-the-cob" holders make excellent substitutes (they're used to make small holes in the casing, allowing air to escape).  Everyone already has these in a kitchen drawer.
    13.  Already having "Corn-on-the-cob" holders pales compared to being the first guy on your block with an official "Sausage Pricker".
    14.  Actually twisting the big long casing into individual links is one of the most satisfying things I've done this year (okay, its only Jan 4th, but…)
    15.  Listen to RRP above; do NOT begin this project without a bottle brush!
    16.  Paper towels.  Lots and Lots of Paper towels.
    17.  Did I mention, TAKE YOUR TIME?
     
    EDIT:
    18.  Crap, I forgot the two most important lessons.  First, I made a 5-lb recipe, and the KitchenAid motor never balked, even while paddle-mixing the whole mass as required by the recipe.  HOWEVER, the 4 1/2 quart bowl that my Artisan came with isn't big enough to mix that amount of meat; while it never threw large amount of porcine onto the floor, it came close enough for me to cup my hands around the bowl during the first 60 seconds of the "final mix" required by the recipe.

    19.  If the recipe requires any quantity of liquid to be added at the end (like the 1 cup of red wine in mine) and your mixing bowl is full, STOP THE DAMN MOTOR before your pour in the liquid.  Thank god for washable, semi-gloss paint.  
     
    Anxious to try these things tomorrow.  The recipe was mostly garlic and red wine, I snuck in some red pepper flakes and fennel.  House smells fantastic and nothings been cooked yet!  Will post my comments tomorrow, if I don't succumb to Botchulism first.  g'Night!  
    _____________________________________________
     
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
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  • ChubbsChubbs Posts: 4,656
    Great post. Enjoyed it and following the thread
    Columbia, SC --- LBGE 2011 -- MINI BGE 2013
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  • BotchBotch Posts: 2,952
    edited January 2014
    20. Crap.  One more:  I've read that pushing a couple slices of bread through your grinder, when you're done, does a fantastic job of cleaning out the remaining meat.
    It probably works even better if you remember to do it before you have everything disassembled.  
    _____________________________________________
     
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
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  • Great post - Thx for sharing the experience. Looking forward to a report on the cook and some photos.
    Alan in LA (Lower Alabama that is)
    "If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before!" 
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  • BotchBotch Posts: 2,952
    edited January 2014
    The whole house reeked of garlic this morning.  

    image
     
    Grilled a couple of them up with some zucchini, maple smoke.   
     
    image
     
    I can't say I'm happy with the Charcuterie recipe; next time I'll use half as much garlic, and a third as much salt!  :-O   Texture was fine, even though I slightly overshot the temp.  
     
    I'm sure the whole process will go much smoother next time, was definitely a learning experience.  
    _____________________________________________
     
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
    ·
  • twlangantwlangan Posts: 293
    I bought the meat grinder attachment a few months ago. Had the same problem the first time I used it. I found that the solution is to tighten the big white "nut" a bit more. It seems to hold the plate tighter to the spinning blade and it will keep clear. I have ground quite a bit of pork with it and this cures the problem.

    The last batch of sausage I made, I tried using the mixer to mix the spices into the meat. I did some research beforehand that stated that the bowl is good for only about 3 lbs at a time. I found that to be accurate. Worked well.

    I also stuffed some collagen casings for breakfast links. It was a sloooow process. If I decided to get into link making in a bigger way, I will be looking for a dedicated sausage stuffer. I like the unit for grinding though.
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  • BotchBotch Posts: 2,952
    Thanks for the tips, twlangan!  
    _____________________________________________
     
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
    ·
  • I started the same way you did with that attachment. Ended up with a northern tool meat grinder and bought a LEM 5 pound stuffer. Up grade to stainless stuffing tubes and to stainless steel grinder plates. With the LEM you have a handle that you crank so you can control how fast it pushes the sausage through the tubes. With the kitchen aid you cannot. I found it pushed it out to fast for me. Love the self control of the crank on my LEM
    Jefferson .GA.  
    Been egging since 1985 on a medium egg
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  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,757

    Oh Botch!! I am sorry,but that is hilarious!! =)) Especially number 11. You are right and don't get disapointed, every time you make sausage, it will get easier and you will learn tricks that will help you. There's probably stuff I've picked up that I forget to tell people about. (an example that took me a while to learn is don't tie both ends of the casings until AFTER you have twisted them into links. The meat needs somewhere to expand to)

    On 9, I think you were thinking of collagen casings not natural hog gut. When working with hog casings packed in salt, take a few out and soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. Change the water a few times if you think about it. You don't need to slide them over the end of the faucet. Just open them enough that a slow stream of water will enter the end. This will also help clean them out and if you have them still sitting in the bowl, as it fills with water it will help untangle them some. Hope that makes sense and helps you out.

    As for the sausage, it looks really great. Just like all your other cooking, take notes and adjust the seasonings to fit your palette.

    I've got an interesting idea for some sausage that I might try this week if I get the time...

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

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  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,635
    that small KA plate is useless, put it in the back of a drawer and lose it. only use the bigger plate and just one pass and once you see pate clean the blade and continue. ebay has even bigger plates for coarser sasauge and chili grind, look for those, i think they are aftermarket
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  • calikingcaliking Posts: 6,584
    Bookmarked. Thanks for the detailed info. Making sausage with the KA is on my bucket list for this year (funny that the only resolutions I made this year are egg-related). 

    I read somewhere that the older grinding attachment for the KA had more metal in it and worked better than the current one. I think the auger used to be metal? I have the newer plastic one, but will hopefully be able to put your lessons to use. 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
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  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,757
    @fishlessman raises a good point. What are the sizes of your plates? That could have something to do with it. Mine are 3/16, 5/16 and 3/8.

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

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  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,635
    Griffin said:
    @fishlessman raises a good point. What are the sizes of your plates? That could have something to do with it. Mine are 3/16, 5/16 and 3/8.
    its not in front of me but i thinkk the origional large plate was either 3/16 or 1/4 hole size, the smaller was stupid in size. i found a set on ebay that goes all the way up to 1/2 for chili grind or a heavy chourico grind
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